Tax Debate (Jeff Hankins Publisher's Note)

by Jeff Hankins  on Monday, Feb. 28, 2011 12:00 am  

And then there was Arkansas Business Executive of the Year Jim Gaston, who has invested his life in building not only a world-class trout fishing destination known as Gaston's White River Resort, but also the state tourism industry in general. His rural Arkansas humor reminded us that it takes unique individuals and not just unique business models to make companies successful.

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I erroneously said in my last column that Sheffield Nelson never would have advocated an increase in the state's severance tax while he was CEO of Arkansas Louisiana Gas Co. In fact, he did during the 1980s.

Nelson disputes the Stephens revenge theory, while others tell me I was dead-on correct. His efforts to persuade the Legislature to increase the tax were (a.) during his tenure with Arkla, (b.) after his falling-out with Witt Stephens and (c.) during a time when Nelson was relatively cozy with Gov. Bill Clinton, who ultimately protected both Nelson and Stephens from an increase.

You make the call on motivations or lack thereof.

 Jeff Hankins can be reached via e-mail at, followed on Twitter @JeffHankins and connected with at and




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